Coffee With Kyle: Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier (Parts 1 & 2)


This week’s two-part “Coffee With Kyle” is a sure-to-be classic with a classic broadcaster, NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier.

Kyle Petty visited Squier at the radio station which has been in his family since 1930, WDEV Radio/Radio Free Vermont, in Waterbury, Vermont (Squier still works at the station today, including giving daily sports updates).

It’s where Squier got his start at the tender age of 15, calling sprint car and midget car races in his home state.

That was where I decided I would spend the rest of my life,” Squier told Petty. “God, I loved those cars and I had to find a way to do it (for his profession).”

Squier’s life has been split between covering NASCAR and short track racing. At the age of 25, and a 10-year veteran of motorsports by that point, Squier was part of a group that built Thunder Road International Speedbowl – a high-banked, quarter-mile asphalt oval that still operates today.

A few years after that, Squier helped co-found and began calling NASCAR races for the Motor Racing Network. Both his life and the sport of NASCAR would never be the same.

Squier became the voice of NASCAR at first. But then he eventually moved in front of the TV camera to become the face of NASCAR as well for ABC, then CBS and TBS.

Shortly after World War II, Squier met fellow legendary broadcaster Chris Economaki, who became a close friend and a mentor to the lanky kid from Vermont.

He became the singular voice,” Squier said of Economaki. “I was fascinated by him. He really understood (racing).”

Then in a humorous twist, Squier compared his own “racing career” with that of Economaki.

He, too, started out to be a racer; I think he ran one race,” Squier said. “I thought I was the next Indianapolis star.

I ran a couple heats (in a local race in Vermont) and a guy in a six-cylinder Plymouth and I went down into Turn 1 and I knew no one had ever surpassed what I was doing in that corner.

This guy pulled up alongside me, waved and went on. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I have to rethink all this.’”

Among some of the most notable accomplishments of Squier’s career was not only calling so many races – including every Daytona 500 from 1979 through 1997 – but also some of the great phraseology that Squier brought to the sport, including the following:

* “These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

* “Common men doing uncommon deeds.

* “The Great American Race,” which became the motto of the Daytona 500

* “The Alabama Gang”

Check out Part 1 of Petty’s interview with Squier in the video above.

And then when you’re done, click the video below for Part 2 of the interview.

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Alex Bowman confident as he returns to racing from back injury


CONCORD, N.C. — Alex Bowman watched the rain-filled skies over Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday with more than a touch of disappointment.

As weather threatened to cancel Saturday night’s scheduled NASCAR Cup Series practice at the speedway, Bowman saw his chances to testing his car — and his body — dissolving in the raindrops. NASCAR ultimately cancelled practice and qualifying because of rain.

MORE: Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup practice, qualifying

Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car accident last month and has missed three Cup races while he recovers. Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the season’s longest race, is scheduled to mark his return to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

“It would have been really nice to kickstart that with practice today,” Bowman said. “I haven’t raced or competitively driven a race car in a month. I’m trying to understand where my rusty areas are going to be and where I’m still good.”

Bowman ran 200 laps in a test season at North Wilkesboro Speedway this week, but, of course, that doesn’t compare with the faster speeds and tougher G-forces he’ll experience over 400 laps Sunday at CMS.

Bowman admitted that he is still experiencing pain from the back injury — his car flipped several times — and that he expects some pain during the race. But he said he is confident he’ll be OK and that the longer race distance won’t be an issue.

“I broke my back a month ago, and there’s definitely things that come along with that for a long time,” he said. “I have some discomfort here and there and there are things I do that don’t feel good. That’s just part of it. It’s stuff I’ll have to deal with. But, for the most part, I’m back to normal.

“I’m easing back into being in the gym. I’m trying to be smart with things. If I twist the wrong way, sometimes it hurts. In the race car at the end of a six-hour race, I’m probably not going to be the best.”

The sprint car crash interrupted what had been a fine seasonal start for Bowman. Although winless, he had three top fives and six top 10s in the first 10 races.

“I’m excited to be back,” Bowman said. “Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and be strong right out of the gate.”

He said he hopes to return to short-track racing but not in the near future.

“Someday I want to get back in a sprint car or midget,” he said. “I felt like we were just getting rolling in a sprint car. That night we were pretty fast. Definitely a bummer there. That’s something I really want to conquer and be competitive at in the World of Outlaws or High Limits races. Somebody I’ll get back to that. It’s probably smart if I give my day job a little alone time for a bit.”




Charlotte NASCAR Cup Series starting lineup: Rain cancels qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — William Byron and Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the front row after wet weather cancelled Saturday night qualifying.

Rain pelted the CMS area much of the day Saturday, and NASCAR announced at 3:45 p.m. that Cup practice and qualifying, scheduled for Saturday night, had been cancelled.

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

The starting field was set by the NASCAR rulebook.

Following Byron and Harvick in the starting top 10 will be Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The elimination of the practice session was particularly problematic for Alex Bowman, scheduled to return to racing Sunday after missing three weeks with a back injury, and Jimmie Johnson, who will be starting only his third race this year. Johnson will start 37th — last in the field.

Charlotte Cup starting lineup

Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup Series practice, qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR Cup Series drivers will start the longest race of the season with no practice or qualifying.

Wet weather and predictions of more to come led NASCAR to cancel Saturday night’s Cup Series practice and qualifying in mid-afternoon. The field for Sunday’s 600-mile race was set by the NASCAR rulebook, placing William Byron and Kevin Harvick on the front row for the  scheduled 6 p.m. start.

MORE: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

Weather also could be an issue Sunday as more rain is predicted for the speedway area.

Drivers were scheduled to practice at 7 p.m. Saturday. That session was to be followed by qualifying at 7:45 p.m. The cancellations were announced at 3:45 p.m.

The time-trial cancellation marked the first time in 64 years that qualifying has been canceled for the 600.

Charlotte Xfinity race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — Persistent rain forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Monday.

The race is scheduled to start at noon ET. It will be televised by FS1 and broadcast by the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Driver introductions and other pre-race activities were held at the track Saturday, but rain that had dampened the track in the morning hours returned. After several attempts at drying the track, the race was postponed after heavier rain returned in mid-afternoon.

Justin Allgaier will start the race from the pole position.